A flavourful melting pot of sparkling nightspots, fresh seafood, sizzling Mediterranean passion and mythical legend, Greece is a fascinating and enchanting destination - whether lounging on a sandy stretch, or exploring ancient relics.
Greece's urban hubs are home to some of the world's most glorious and prized ancient and medieval architecture - such as Athens' white marble Parthenon and Thessaloniki’s proud Byzantine churches - and the setting of some of humankind's oldest tales. On the coast, find bustling, umbrella-peppered beaches and secluded sandy coves, washed by turquoise waters and regularly doused in sunshine.
Off shore, Greece's 1400 islands, such as party-hard Mykonos and picturesque Santorini, offer a rainbow of paradisiacal settings for an idyllic island-hopping adventure. Find true Mediterranean peace on Kefalonia and Amorgos, ideal hiking terrain on the peaks and troughs of Crete, and prime scuba diving and sea kayaking conditions around pretty much every coastal corner.
But to explore the islands in the best way possible, you should charter a sailing boat. This can be bareboat (where you only hire the boat, but one of your group will need to have a sailing license), with a skipper, or as part of a flotilla (a group of six to ten boats, lead by an expert). Most sailing holidays last one week, and give you the luxury of being able to explore hidden coves, put down anchor in an emerald bay and swim, or moor up along the quay in one of Greece’s countless little fishing villages.
Feast on healthy Mediterranean fare, prepared with local seasonal produce and plenty of olive oil. Greek cuisine is more than just standard moussaka and kebabs, as the plethora of eateries serving ‘modern taverna’ fare attest - think salads with rocket and pomegranate, tasty casseroles combining pork and prunes, and delicious seafood dishes served with unexpected flavours such as aubergine or fennel. Some of the wines are pretty good too.
Do as the locals do a take an afternoon nap to restore energy for Greece’s hedonistic nightlife – chi-chi cocktail bars, open-air concerts and dancing on the beach below a starlit sky. Call it narcisstic, but the Greeks certainly know how to party.
When it comes to places to stay, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Those looking for extreme comfort might opt for a five-star resort complete with a luxurious spa and villas with private plunge pools, or a quaint boutique hotel furnished with traditional antique furniture, while those who prefer a back-to-nature escape can simply pitch a tent under a tree with a sea view at one of Greece’s many well-equipped campsites.
And don’t be put off by what the newspapers say. It’s true, the Greek economy is having a rough ride, but the sun is still shining, the locals are as hospitable as ever, and as tourism contributes 16% of the national GNP (plus tens of thousands of jobs), if you come here on holiday you’ll be putting your money where it’s much needed. Kalos irthate stin Ellada - Welcome to Greece!